Since the dawn of rock and/or roll, bands have circled Halloween on their calendars as one of those special occasions. From the Grateful Dead routinely breaking out Werewolves of London to Zappa playing New York City to the popular rock band Phish covering a historical album for its second of three sets, Halloween traditions and enthusiasm can be found all over the scene.
That tradition continued last night and this past weekend, as many artists and groups played those special kinds of shows all across these United States. We’ll begin here with Widespread Panic, and read on after the jump for 11 more reports from around the country. And now, little man, we present this round-up to you…
Widespread Panic – MGM Grand, Las Vegas NV
One of the longest and strongest Halloween resumes belongs to Widespread Panic. The band gave some love to their fallen brother (Airplane), JerryBear (Morning Dew), and fellow Athens band REM (Can’t Get Here From There). I’m sure many Spreadnecks passed out at their computers when this setlist came rolling in.
The Disco Biscuits – Orpheum Theater, Boston MA
One of the knocks you hear most often from Disco Biscuit Haters surrounds the band’s vocals. That wasn’t a problem last night, when the band was joined by the Boston Symphony Choir. Bustouts included You Can’t Always Get What You Want and In The Flesh.
Zappa Plays Zappa – The Theater at MSG, New York NY
Frank Zappa played New York on Halloween eight times between 1974 and 1984. His son Dweezil renewed the tradition this year by bringing Zappa plays Zappa to the Theater at MSG last night. Keep your eyes on the ZPZ blog for videos and photos from the show, which featured Zappa alums Steve Vai, Terry Bozzio, and Napoleon Murphy Brock. You can also read one enthusiastic fan’s short review in the comments section of today’s Grousing The Aisles.
Tea Leaf Green – Fox Theater, Boulder CO
TLG had quite a few things to celebrate this Halloween, including the release of its new DVD/CD Rock ‘n’ Roll Band. Last night’s show was simulcast on Sirius radio and started the show by mixing their own Sex in the 70’s with the theme songs from the three original Star Wars movies. The band played two long sets, focusing on their darker material, and by all accounts, it was truly “epic.”
Trey Anastasio – Stubb’s BBQ, Austin TX
Trey played his first ever solo headlining gig in Texas last night. The long-suffering Texas Trey fans were rewarded for their patience, as Trey augmented his regular touring band with four horn players and Ivan Neville for the second set (three of the horn players were from Austin’s own Grooveline Horns). Mud City and Bar 17 featured horns for the first time ever, possibly previewing what’s to come from the Trey NYE run lineup. Ivan Neville + Ray Paczkowski? Yes, please.
String Cheese Incident – Orleans Arena, Las Vegas NV
Michael Kang is the Liza Minelli of the jam scene. The String Cheese Incident had a jungle theme to their Halloween festivities this year, and covers included Welcome To The Jungle, Jungle Boogie, and The Monkees‘ theme song. As fans entered the building dressed in their costumes, SCI crew members took photos which were then displayed on monitors by the side of the stage: a cool concept if you ask me.
The Breakfast – Toad’s Place, New Haven CT
Recently The Breakfast parted ways with their keyboard player, leaving only a de facto trio. The band’s 8th Annual Fongoulish Freakout featured the band paying tribute to the great trios of rock history. You can check out this show in this week’s Grousing The Aisles.
The Black Crowes – Riveria Theater, Chicago IL
For the second time, the Crowes celebrated Halloween with a musical costume. For a three-song first set, the boys channeled The Beach Boys as The Bitch Boys playing I Get Around, Kokomo, and You Are So Beautiful. Two full sets of material followed the bonus set, and the band tore through such originals as Wiser Time, Twice As Hard, Sometimes Salvation. The Robinson boys also nailed covers like Fearless and the debut of Corrina.
Gov’t Mule – Uptown Theater, Kansas City MO
The Mule rolled onto into Kansas City last night and played Pygmy Twylyte in its entirety for the first time since Allen Woody passed. The band mixed in covers with originals, and shocker, played a Soulshine encore. That must be a new song.
Ratdog – Westbury Music Fair, Westbury NY
Bobby et al kept alive the Dead’s tradition of playing Zevon’s Werewolves of London last night on Long Island. A “fake Bobby” wearing butterfly wings and dreads came out for the encore to a rousing ovation before he was joined by the genuine article.
MMW – Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC NY
The Duo – Music Farm, Charleston SC
The report on the street is that Marco and Joe dressed up as gay bikers, which must have gone over real well in the Bible Belt. Oh yeah, and they’re good.